Morrisons (MRW.L) has announced a drop in petrol prices to under £1 per litre at its UK forecourts.
The supermarket is selling petrol for a maximum of 99.7p per litre, marking the first time petrol has been “sold nationally” for less than £1 per litre since February 2016, according to Morrisons.
The retailer has also cut its diesel prices with drivers paying a maximum of 104.7p per litre.
Government figures show the average cost per litre for petrol was 107.6p and 114.9p for diesel on 4 May.
The reduction in prices means filling a 55-litre family car is around £7 cheaper than seven weeks ago.
The price cut reflects a collapse in oil prices due to heavily decreased demand as global economies shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brent crude oil was trading at around $64 per barrel at the beginning of the year but sunk to less than $19 last month.
The price hovered around $31 per barrel on Monday morning.
The price drop comes as the UK government announced it would begin the process of easing the coronavirus lockdown from Wednesday.
To say thank you to all key workers and other motorists making essential journeys, we've cut the price of unleaded to 99.7p per litre and diesel to 104.7p per litre. #Morrisons #FeedingTheNation #ItsMoreThanOurJob #Fuel #Petrol #Diesel pic.twitter.com/LYHBUlq3Pf— Morrisons (@Morrisons) May 11, 2020
Car use is likely to increase as those who can’t work from home, such as those in manufacturing or construction, were told go back to work.
Prime minister Boris Johnson urged these workers to avoid public transport where possible, recommending they drive, cycle or walk instead.
People will also be allowed to “drive to other destinations” in order to exercise, with visits to to parks or beaches in England given the green light.
Department for Transport figures released last week showed that road traffic was around 58% lower than in early February.
Ashley Myers, head of Morrisons fuel, said: “This cut will help people who are travelling to work, those shopping for essentials, and those assisting the elderly and vulnerable.
“We want to play our full part in reducing the cost of living and feeding the nation at this difficult time.”
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Although the lockdown is far from over, yesterday’s speech from the prime minister was a signal to drivers that they can begin to make more trips by car again — so credit is due to Morrisons for taking the lead and selling petrol and diesel at what is a very fair price and one that is much more reflective of what the retailer is itself paying to buy the fuel in.
“Unfortunately though, there is a darker side to any large price cuts — they heap yet more pressure on smaller independent fuel retailers, who in some cases are already fighting for survival as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
“It remains to be seen how long prices this low will persist for, with some early indications that wholesale petrol prices have started to rise as a result of the world oil price creeping up.”
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